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Wings Over Scotland

A slight change of position

Posted on April 25, 2014 by

We read yesterday how Labour and the Tories have both, in rather different ways, been expressing their concern about the demographic timebomb that will affect Scotland unless it can attract a major increase in immigration.

“An independent Scotland would need almost one million immigrants by the middle of the century to boost the workforce and defuse its pensions time bomb, [Labour shadow pensions spokesman Gregg McClymont] has warned.”

And just a few months earlier:

“Economists believe the population needs to grow by 24,000 people a year just to keep pace with European economies. Conservative finance spokesman Gavin Brown said: ‘A country like ours needs people, particularly young people, to come in to work and increase the tax base. That is absolutely essential for the economy.”

So we’d imagine that’s always been the Labour and Tory policy, right?

A cross-party group of MPs and peers has dismissed claims that Scotland needs large-scale immigration because of its declining and ageing population.

It is calling for the UK’s immigration policies to be reviewed in a bid to prevent the population growing.

The group, chaired by former Conservative and Labour ministers, said this would reduce the pressure on public services.

It has proposed a cap on the number of people allowed to settle in Scotland.”

Well, that’s odd. Just five-and-a-half years ago, it seems Scottish Labour and Tory MPs were telling us that there was NO demographic timebomb, and that we should be LIMITING immigration to Scotland, not warning that there wasn’t enough. They were happy to go on the record rejecting the claims of experts who said otherwise.

As the official government figures we linked to yesterday showed, nothing has changed since 2008 with regard to either the demographic profile of Scotland or the levels of net migration. So can anyone suggest why Labour and the Conservatives might have so dramatically reversed their position?

It can’t be that we’ve had a recession since then, because the cross-party group cited in the BBC piece released a paper the following month headlined “Will a recession solve the problem of large scale immigration? In a nutshell, no.”

It would seem terribly cynical to speculate that the thing that’s caused this complete U-turn by Labour and the Tories was the possibility of Scotland bucking the UK trend and having a different immigration policy better suited to its needs, which has become a realistic prospect thanks to the independence referendum.

So we’re sure that readers will be able to offer a whole raft of alternative explanations, and perhaps also point to the actual moments where the two UK parties announced their change of policy with regard to the Scottish situation. Our breath is already bated in anticipation of the flood.

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  1. 28 04 14 07:44

    A slight change of position | FreeScotland

58 to “A slight change of position”

  1. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    Look … a squirrel ….!!

  2. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Both Labour and the Tories are scrambling to adopt UKIP’s policies as and when they consider advantageous.

    Margaret Hodge (Labour) was on Radio 4 this morning getting stuck in about all the foreigners in British jails and why are we not sending them home to their own countries to serve their sentences?

    I thought was listening to someone from the BNP/UKIP

    We know where the Labour Party is going and it isn’t anywhere leftwards.

    They need the SE of England to achieve control of Westminster and are sh1t scared of UKIP.

    The EU elections will only crystallise the right morphing of London Labour.

    The SMP’s and MP’s of Labour are toast and very soon.

    (partially reposted from the fag end of the previous thread)

  3. bjsalba says:

    Has anyone figured out what the emigration to London/SE England is?

    If we could stem that flow it would be a big help too.

  4. The Man in the Jar says:

    I dont know about the Tories but is it not now Labour policy to say one thing in public and another thing in public.

  5. Mosstrooper says:

    Aye, it’s a squirrel right enough. However I see that it’s wan o they foreign incomer squirrels.

    Ah blame that Alissammin an the SNP Guvment. So ah dae. see!

  6. Cath says:

    “Has anyone figured out what the emigration to London/SE England is?”

    I thought everyone else in the UK was supposed to get on their bikes and head there? That used to be Tory policy.

  7. CameronB says:

    A big lad did it and ran away. 19oatcake.

    Am I right? 🙂

  8. bookie from hell says:

    bitter together

  9. handclapping says:

    Is it perhaps that they have woken up to the fact that after years of being treated as “a far away country of which we know nothing”, in Neville Chamberlain’s words, that the natives are considering a change in the rulers?

    Or is it that they have suddenly decided that it really would be best if they found out what Scotland needs before deciding what Scotland gets?

    Or is it, oh the irony, the law of the market that a better Parliament at Holyrood has shewn up Westminster as yesterday’s model and people want the better product, so this is just the political equivalent of extra expenditure on the advertising budget?

  10. Illy says:

    I have a sugesttion for what’s going through their heads:

    They don’t have the foggiest clue what they’re talking about, and are simply following the time-honoured practice of politicians everywhere of running to the front of the crowd so they can claim they’re leading it somewhere.

  11. Labour and the Tories get their jollies off on race-baiting. They always have.

  12. seanair says:

    Daily Heil has jumped onto this with front page headlines. Pity they didn’t read the facts on WOS.
    Well perhaps they did but “One Million Immigrants” is too good for them to miss.
    DH despises Labour but in this case the story comes from them, so that’s alright then.

  13. Ken500 says:

    Unionist Politicans blame everyone else but themselves for bankrupt Britain.

    Westminster policies are to blame for the recession not hardworking immigrants. Westminster foreign policies and illegal wars are destabilising the world and have led to an increase in immigrants in London S/E. Immigrants go were there are jobs. 4% unemployment in London S/E.

    Scotland’s Oil revenues have been spent in London S/E, increasing jobs there and depopulating Scotland. Instead of threatening Scotland, Westminster politicans should be apologising. ‘Scottish Question Time’ at Westminster is a disgrace.

    Vote YES.

  14. yerkitbreeks says:

    Just listened to Billy Kay over on Bella just now and near the end of his talk he puts this issue in context.

    Incidentally I liked his quote in describing the BBC as the anglosaxophone !

  15. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Just gone over 300…ticking along nicely. I would’ve posted this earlier but couldn’t get near the keyboard for Romanians and Bulgarians, took a while to shoo them outside.

  16. Ravelin says:

    The reality is that any political party will put forward a view they believe to be advantageous even if that view completely contradicts one they held previously. They are rarely called out on the hypocrisy by the MSM, but hopefully now that social media has become more prevalent they’ll be called out much more frequently and publically.

    On the whole immigration/emigration/foreigner thing, isn’t Scotland renowned for having sent it’s population all across the world, whether it be by choice or not. As I said previously I’ve worked in England and the USA. In the 70s both by father’s brothers emigrated to Canada with their families. My mother’s sister did the same, to South Africa. I currently have an aunt, uncle, 2 cousins in Canada (one uncle died in an accident over there many years ago) and an aunt, uncle and 2 cousins in South Africa (one cousin was brought up there but returned to Scotland a few years ago). My overseas aunt/uncle/cousin count is more than double that of the UK based ones (all in Scotland incidentally)

    That’s just the immediate family, my cousins all have children and several of my maternal gran’s brothers and sisters were ‘sent to live with relatives in the USA when my gran’s mother died’ so I’ve no idea how many more distant relatives I have there.

    Do I consider my overseas relatives to be foreigners? Nope, they are family, and despite how infrequently I see them they remain family!

  17. Greannach says:

    Apparently holiday-home owner Yvette Cooper-Balls was in Inverness telling a vetted audience that immigrants are scary. I’m not sure if she said they speak funny, and also not sure if she has officially joined BNP/UKIP/Front National. Just wondering if she is positioning herself as UKOK’s Marine Le Pen. Which leaves me wondering if local Labour MP David Stewart is hoping to usurp Nigel Farage’s position as court jester in UKOK’s political landscape.

  18. msean says:

    I always wondered,would being in control of our own country stem our own brain drain? We must lose so many capable people every year to England and elsewhere in order for Scotlands’ population to remain static.

    I think the answer is yes,create opportunity here in Scotland.

  19. Clootie says:

    Yvette Cooper has used the language of the BNP and should hang her head in shame.
    It was bad enough with Tony Blair trying to build a case for another Crusade in the middle east a few days ago.

    Those who created New Labour are not to blame. Those who followed like sheep are.

  20. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    O/T … But are the MSM newspapers in the CBI?

    If they are, it means that they are now ”officially” part of the NO Campaign.

    If the newspapers are in the CBI, then I would assume that a fair number of business organisations who pay for advertising would not want to be seen to be supporting financially the NO side in the Indyref, and might transfer their advertising elsewhere.

    Just sayin’

  21. Craig P says:

    I was sitting in a bar in Orkney and a fellow was banging on about immigrants. On clarification it wasn’t immigrants into Orkney he was bothered about, but all those foreigners arriving at Dover. This on an island with me, him, his granny, and half a million sheep. You get some strange types out there.

    msean says:

    I always wondered,would being in control of our own country stem our own brain drain

    I hope so, as it’s one of my main reasons for voting yes.

  22. Calgacus says:

    I have just signed your excellent petition Ian and have forwarded it to friends and family.

    This is too important to let lie.

  23. Andrew Morton says:

    yerkitbreeks 11:04 am

    Re the Anglosaxophone quote, this appeared frequently in the letters pages of the Scotsman in the 1970s and 1980s (unbelievably, to today’s younger readers, this was where the national debate played out back then).

    It was originally said by Oliver Brown, NPS founder member 1928 and scholar, who died, aged 73, in 1976. Famous for his quote that the 1967 Hamilton by-election result had “caused a shiver to run along the Scottish Labour benches looking for a spine to run up” and his description of the BBC as the “Anglo-Saxophone.”

  24. Alba4Eva says:

    Ravelin. You might find this quite interesting…

  25. Betty Boop says:

    And I make no apology for being O/T 🙂
    Have just listened to Margo MacDonald’s memorial service on radio. The speeches were phenomenal and so “Margo”. Uplifting doesn’t describe the sentiments.

    Of course, BBC Radio Scotland cut off the singing of “A Man’s a Man for a’ That” at the end (thoroughly annoying, but, they couldn’t argue with the sentiments today.

  26. Jamie Arriere says:

    Just watched the Margo Memorial. Wonderful speech by Jim Sillars which must be seen.

    Wonderful example of humanity – Scotland and its people at its best.

  27. Arabs for Independence says:

    O/T. Dundee United fans, Arabs for Indy (shoulda put copyright on name) will be having a public meeting tomorrow 26 April at Club 83, St Salvador Street Dundee at 13:00.

    Speakers include: Sports Minister Shona Robison, Broadcaster and Musician Ricky Ross and Jim McFarlane from Trades Unions for Independence, the MC will be Author and Broadcaster Billy Kay. Each speaker will have a few mins to state their case for Indy and after they have spoken then there will be 1/2 an hour for a Q and A session.

    The event is for all not just Dundee United fans.

  28. Flower of Scotland says:

    Thanks Edward! I managed to watch Margo,s Memorial. it was funny , with fab tributes and very emotional ! I was weeping! Hope it has a healing effect on some parts of the campaign for Indy!

  29. Jim Watson says:

    I note that the BBC are stating that among the top “foreign” prisoners are the Irish. WOS has previously covered this idea of “foreigness” and how the Ireland Act of 1948 specifically prevents a Citizen of the Republic from being designated as such. Anyone fancy reporting the BBC to Police Scotland for a clear breach of the law…

  30. heedtracker says:

    Press and Journal very creepy/funny today as per, with major bettertogether puff for both Cooper and Milliband racism/slander or voice of reason if you’re P&J. Also pages and pages of very creepy P&J vote no we hate Holyrood don’t we reportage with big by-pass public plan presentation but no Aberdeen councillors showed up because its a project and City Finance Convener/village idiot Wullie Young says noone went because he wasn’t invited.

  31. Alfresco Dent says:

    BBC has its finger on the pulse of the Nation. Let’s talk about an English football team!

  32. bookie from hell says:


    just listened to billy kay

    so much history,fact,humour,great speaker

    Scottish history surpressed in universities of all places was a eye opener

  33. heedtracker says:

    “Scottish history suppressed in universities of all places was a eye opener” Was it? I was at Aberdeen uni mid 90’s and went to a lot of Scottish history lectures which were completely incredible really. The lecturer spoke with a breadth of knowledge, humanity and sensitivity to the human experience for Scots across the centuries that’s never left me and I did accountancy.

  34. turnbull drier says:


    I see the BBC are continuing with the “Russians are out to get us and would do, if it wasn’t for the Tally-ho RAF” angle.. This time with suitably scary pics…

    However, the last line is nice:
    A spokesman said: “Russian military flights have never entered UK sovereign airspace without authorisation.”

    Are they like vampires??

  35. Adrian B says:

    @turnbull dryer,

    I don’t know the correct terminology, but have a look at the letters on the tail of the last photograph in that article.

    Are the Russians trying to tell us something? Lolz 😀

  36. Ravelin says:

    @Adrian B

    Noticed that myself. Isn’t it amazing what the BBC can buy with the TV license fee. ;>)

  37. Helena Brown says:

    I see Mr Miliband does not think an Independent Scotland could possibly regulate zero hours contract so we are all to vote NO just in case he gets in 2015 and he just might regulate them for us. Now that is insulting.

  38. Jim Mitchell says:

    Any lie will do!

  39. James D says:

    Surely any extra immigration needs for an Independent Scotland will be met by the flood of the English(-ander-arians) swarming across the border to escape the strung out Austerity-Max on steroids effects of going cold turkey without its Scottish Cash-Cow fix.

  40. GrahamB says:

    Margo’s memorial event was an inspiration, full of humour, humanity and emotion.
    Stairheid was stuck in the front row between Eck and Wee Willie and was stony faced throughout even conspicuously fixed stare straight ahead and silent when everyone else was singing ‘A Man’s a Man for a’ that’. She looked very uncomfortable and obviously did not want to be there – she probably would have preferred to have been in Glasgow sookin’ up Ed’s erse.

  41. Eric Rollo says:

    All these contradicting statements are confirming my suspicions that far from being a burden to the UK economy as certain Tory peers have claimed in the past Scotland is a valued and necessary prop to the UK economy and the thought of a split is terrifying the hell out of Mr Cameron, Mr Miliband etc.

    Roll on September when we all can decide if we continue to support and bail out the financially abusing idiots in Westminster or we look to take control of our own affairs and take responsibility for our own mistakes or successes as the future may bring.

  42. bald eagle says:

    turnbull drier @12:35

    have a look at the first three letters on the tailplane in that photo

  43. bald eagle says:

    why is my post just appearing at 13.31 when i posted at 12.36
    just noticed as i just got back in


    chic ya dipstick why have i got only half a white paper i want the other half IDIOT

  44. Boorach says:

    @ Helena Brown

    One hopes that far from regulating zero hours contracts the Government of an iScotland would actually outlaw them.

  45. Capella says:

    @turnbull rier and bald eagle
    Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet so a B is actually a V in English. Reminds me of watching a BBC news item ages ago where they were showing pictures of alleged wreckage of Soviet made tanks used by Col Gadaffi in a war against Egypt. The twisted metal had “Made in the USSR” stamped on the side. In ENGLISH!
    An early BBC propaganda triumph!

  46. Heather says:


    I too attended Aberdeen Uni from 1996, studying Scottish History, and I found that often they spoke from an establishment point of view. I’m not saying they weren’t knowledgeable, of course they were, but I remember one lecturer giving a wry smile that we had basically sold ourselves out for a fast buck. It has always stuck with me. I found a stark contrast when studying Celtic History at the Celtic department. The feeling of utter loss and the tragedies that ensued due to the destruction of culture, heritage, language and name was utterly palpable.

  47. Papadox says:


    Very well put. Thank you.

  48. Silver19 says:

    @Adrian B & @turnbull dryer

    I reckon Cameron probably asked Puttin for these Russian Tu-95 Bear H planes sorties to scare us. What I found funny is these Russian bombers have tail numbers/id starting with BBC 🙂

  49. Anne Lawrie says:

    They are probably right about the aging population in Scotland. I, personally, have aged at least ten years since the referendum campaign began. People don’t recognise me any more. This was confirmed this morning when someone about my own age offered me a seat on the bus!

    I was at Margo’s memorial & laughed & cried. It was just amazing. Yes, Stairheid was there, but surprisingly, so was Alasdair Darling, trying to hide, by the looks of things – especially when several jokes were made at his expense!

  50. west_lothian_questioner says:

    O/T but still relating to the topic headline;

    Can’t even rely on the CBI to tell one porkie and stick with it.

  51. MajorBloodnok says:

    lol at the CBI, just lol. What a bunch of ejits.

  52. HorseBoy says:

    Efter seeing incompetent Milliband the day.
    I’m gonna bet a TON ontae YES.
    Whit bookie is giein best odds?

  53. David Smith says:

    BBC = VVS; it’s the arm of service.
    In English, the tail script reads “VVS, Russia”.
    Nice planes, sixty year old design, would you believe?

  54. Kevin Lynch says:

    This is why there policy has changed. The IMF have warned the UK is facing a £750 billion pensions time bomb. The reality is the UK needs to increase it’s tax base to defuse this time bomb.

  55. Appleby says:

    There must have been huge numbers of Scotland-born who left here to find work, etc. because of the terrible policies and management by Westminster. Encouraging back those people could make a huge difference too.

  56. caz-m says:

    test jncjnrurh

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